Before jumping into using any online social tools for business, it’s imperative that you first create a Plan for how you will use each tool. Due to how easy it is to get started using so many of the free online tools out there today, some business owners jump right in with planning properly. Sometimes that works, but more times than not, it leaves business owners with more questions than answers. When you have a plan, you have a foundation, you have goals setup that you are working to accomplish, and you have time requirements in place for how long you’ll spend using each online tool. When constructing a building for your business, you create a solid foundation before you start designing the interior and putting products on the shelves. This same principle holds true when you do start to use online social tools for business.
For this post, I’d like to focus on Twitter, but the principles can be spread to other online social tools as well. Twitter for business is one of the best uses of your time, as Twitter helps you reach and connect with your target audience, share ideas and educational content, and drive traffic to your blog and/or website. With that said, sometimes business owners get so caught up in getting on Twitter and building a large QUANTITY of followers, that they forget to first setup a foundation that can support such a large following.
As I’m sure many of you know, when it comes to your home, foundation problems are the last thing you want to hear from a contractor. A strong foundation provides the stability for your home, and the same is true for your Twitter profile. You might be saying, well that sounds good in theory, but how do I build a “foundation” on an online platform like Twitter? Great question. When I say, build a foundation on Twitter, I mean, find your voice, determine what you want to tweet about, figure out what your goals for Twitter are, so that your future actions are a direct result of trying to accomplish those goals, build out your profile, add an image, and then, actually start tweeting. Notice I didn’t say, “start following people”. There’s a reason for that…
When it comes to following people on Twitter, there are a few key things that QUALITY followers look for in a Twitter profile before following someone. A few of those attributes are:
- Interesting and fully filled out Twitter Profiles – Use your profile to describe what business you’re in, what you will be tweeting about, and any other information that you think would be relevant to the type of followers you are trying to attract
- Profile picture – Here at Catalyst Marketers we like to put a face behind the name, so we Tweet from @RyanTaft and I have a picture of myself up there, instead of a company logo. Some people differ on this subject, but I like the effect a personal image has when it comes to attracting followers.
- A long list of quality tweets – people want to see what you’re tweeting about and who you are interacting with on Twitter.
- Number of followers you have versus the number of people you’re following
Your foundation on Twitter is your profile and your tweets. When you first start out on Twitter, most people search for others to follow and hope that some of those folks will start to follow them back. What they don’t realize is that when someone is checking out your profile after you’ve followed them, they are looking for the attributes listed above. Now, obviously you won’t fit the criteria of the last attribute because you are a new user, so you don’t have any followers. With that said, I think that the weight put on number of followers is much less than the weight put on a professional profile and your Twitter content or tweets.
Most of the time, people understand that you may be new to Twitter, so you don’t have a ton of followers, but if you also have a semi-filled out profile, with no profile picture (whether is a logo or personal image), AND hardly any tweets, then it’s likely that the majority will assume that you’re not an active Twitter user and move on without following you. NOW, if you’re just starting to use Twitter for business and you create a plan for what you’re hoping to achieve through Twitter, fill out your profile, upload an image, and start tweeting on a regular basis, then after 1 – 2 weeks, you’ll have 100+ tweets (hopefully), which is good for a new user. Now, as long as what your tweeting about appeals to your target followers (which is a post for another day), you’re more likely to attract those folks.
Once you’ve built out your profile and you’ve been tweeting for a few weeks, now it’s time to get out there and start searching for people to follow because you’ve successfully built your foundation. Follow industry leaders and follow your target customers. Follow anyone who makes sense for your business (keeping your goals in the back of your mind). When those folks see that you’re following them and they go to check out your profile, they are not going to see an empty lot, they are going to see a strong foundation and a commitment for building something great. You are more likely to attract those folks to follow you back because you took the time to tweet first, then follow.